As a follow-up to my earlier post on interview questions to ask when hiring an employee in a dental office, I am including questions that I often ask when I call a reference. Contacting former employers, especially if it is a dentist the employee formerly worked for, can result in a game of phone tag. However, it is a game well worth playing as the result can give you very helpful information when making an employment decision.

In an effort to be considerate of the reference’s time, I usually don’t ask all of the questions listed below. I have included a list of questions that might prove useful depending on the particular position and situation. Please feel free to comment with any other questions that you think might be useful.

1. What can you tell me about the candidate’s work ethic?
2. What was the candidate’s attendance record? Was the candidate on time and dependable?
3. What are two strengths of the candidate? What are two weaknesses of the candidate?
4. How does the candidate interact with patients?
5. Does the candidate remember names of patients?
6. Would you consider the candidate to be personable?
7. Would you consider the candidate to be intelligent?
8. What responsibilities did the candidate have at your office?
9. What were the circumstances surrounding the candidate’s dismissal or departure from your office?
10. Would you hire the candidate again?